Wellbeing and mental health of young Australians declining

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Concerning new data from headspace National Youth Mental Health Foundation has revealed that the rates of psychological distress among young Australians remain high or very high[1] and that there is an overall decline in wellbeing[2].

“What’s highly concerning is that one-third of young Aussies are already reporting high or very high levels of psychological distress, treble what they were in 2007, but we’re also seeing the impacts of a really challenging year affecting their sense of general wellbeing,” says headspace CEO, Jason Trethowan.

“Young people are telling us Covid-19 has impacted their lives significantly.

“They missed out on many of the usual social connections and school milestones this year, and this comes on top of some of the worst natural disasters our country has faced, including drought, floods and the bushfire crisis.”

Mr Trethowan says that they have noticed a drop in young people’s “ability to manage their daily activities”, which is also “affecting their sense of wellbeing, relationships and how they cope”.

“We know there’s a direct correlation between a decline in functioning over a sustained period and bigger mental health challenges, so it’s crucial we help them get on top of things now,” he says.

Mr Trethowan adds that young people are encouraged to “think about the small steps they can take every day to build in some strategies to support wellbeing”, such as taking some time out to “focus on the everyday things that make you smile or simply slow down and breathe a little easier”.

As one of the key health care providers and essential services during the Covid-19 pandemic, community pharmacies are in a unique position to assist the community with maintaining mental health and wellbeing and to refer customers on to other healthcare providers (GPs and mental health services) as required.

If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health and wellbeing issues, reach out to:

References: 

[1] headspace National Youth Mental Health and Wellbeing Survey. K10 Psychological Distress Score, 2020

[2] headspace National Youth Mental Health and Wellbeing Survey. MyLifeTracker 2020 (May 25 – June 21)